It’s about Their Experience

I’ve worked as a server in restaurants to earn my living for the past twenty years. In the industry, I’ve been taught if a mistake has been made it’s a faux pas to explain to a guest that it was busy, or that the restaurant was understaffed.  It shouldn’t be the guest’s concern that the restaurant is busy.  

Part of what a guest is investing in when they make a reservation is the experience the restaurant has promised to deliver on. 

Of course restaurants get busy.  And sometimes understaffing happens.  But when something goes wrong and  I explain the circumstances which I claim caused the mistake, the focus shifts to my experience.

If something goes wrong, it’s better to do your best to connect with the guest, own up to the mistake and make amends.  

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No Really, How much Time Does it Take?

I’ve been living by the seat my pants in terms of how I do The Work the last few weeks. At first when I returned to my job, it felt like I could handle everything, (my job and all the whims I have regarding The Work), and indefinitely. But no one can really function that way. It makes a body moody and resentful.   

Over the past few weeks I’ve been beginning to reconfigure the whole operation. There are some questions it seems I have to come to terms with, (and figure out realistic answers to). 

What do I want to do? —I always want to do everything. 

What can I actually do? —I can’t actually do everything, though I often want to believe that I can.

How long will it take to do it?  —Probably longer than I suspect, but in general any task I set if front of myself is finite and can be completed in some amount of time.   

No really, how much time does it take?  —This usually requires doing it a few times to get a rough estimate so I can schedule it out. 

What is enough?  —It’s my work, I get to decide. And there has to be an enough. If there isn’t I’ll never stop, or more likely burn out.  

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Bells and Whistles

Today, I started the process learning a new app to which I recently I subscribed. Finding out how it works; what are its bells and whistles? As I attempted to connect the app to a different program I use, I was prompted to upgrade (and pay more). The bells and whistles are doled out at different price levels.  

How badly did I want the integration? At that moment, it seemed really important. If nothing else, it would have offered a sweet dopamine hit in the ‘ol neuroreceptors. It’s the same dilemma that presents itself anytime I buy a phone, computer, or other sundry gadget. It’s what do I need versus what I want.  

Tonight, I held back. I’ve spent the last week or so paring a lot of bells and whistles out of my life. I talk a lot about being able to define what is “enough” for myself. It’s really important to know what I’ll use, and what I actually need. (And in the end it was more than I wanted to spend). 

But I wanted the bells and whistles really bad.   

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Reading the News

One of the lessons of Tiny Habits is to simply watch what I’m already doing, (without judgment) and build on that. This is a way of looking at where my motivations lie. (It’s also a lesson of from animal trainers—try as I might, climbing a tree is a behavior I’m not likely to elicit from a seal).   

Interesting things that come out of this. For instance, in my mind, I’d love to be someone who doesn’t read the news. There’s a lot of judgment and effort I’ve put into not reading the news. 

Yet, I still do it daily.  

I’ve found I can build habits into my life that preclude reading so much news, and also that I actually just enjoy reading the news.  

There’s a chance I just haven’t tripped over the correct approach to excluding news from my life. There’s also a really good chance that all the judgment and shame I lay on myself over my news reading habit is just wasted energy.   

What is Enough?

I’m a big advocate of “enough.” 

What is enough?  

How do I define enough for myself?

How do I guard myself for when the world, (and the voices in my own head), tells me what I’ve done isn’t enough?  

Enough is a work in progress. An experiment even. Most of what I do, I’d love to do more of, until I find that I don’t want to do anything anymore. It’s preferable not to get to “I don’t want to do anything anymore.” So I’m aiming to learn what’s enough.